HEATHERS (1989)—Three Cheers for Cheerful Fatalism


Manage episode 284831220 series 2841664
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This week The Cultists Present Michael Lehmann’s ‘Heathers’ (1989). On the surface, Heathers seems like just another flick about mean girls in high school, but lurking not even all that deeply under the film’s pastel veneer is a downright savage satire of the teen experience. Initially written by a young Daniel Waters as a three hour long film in the hopes of baiting Stanley Kubrick, Waters’ script does what only the aspirations of a fervently fresh writer with a slight sense of ego can. Packed with unexpected references from Hitchcock to Hollywood horror to Sherwood Anderson’s ‘Winesburg, Ohio’ —and heavily reliant on the metaphors of nine-wicket croquet—Heathers is a lot more than it seems.

Deep dives include: the films “myriad” of source materials and references; “cutthroat” croquet; all the Kubrick-bait; the trouble with finding sponsors for your teen suicide-homicide movie; script excerpts from the original ending(s); and why Heathers remains a revelation of irreverence.

Episode Safeword(s): “school spirit”

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